Why do Chameleon Shake and What to Do? Ricketts

Why do Chameleon Shake and What to Do_ Ricketts

Why is Does My Chameleon Shake

Chameleons are one of the fascinating pets. But due to not proper care and management, their health may deteriorate, Chameleon Shake,  and they start shaking their body, which leads to one of the very severe health conditions known as Metabolic Bone disease. It is also common in most of reptiles.

Other Possibilities of Shaking is That :

  • Severe change in weather, which leads to a change in its homeostatic temperature.
  • Your Chameleon is getting old (It’s common in older ones)
  • But in 90 percent of cases of shaking is due to MBD.
Shaking in Chameleon

How to Avoid Severe Changes in the Weather?

To avoid this, you must watch your Chameleon closely and take care of a sudden temperature change. In this, only care is a useful tool.
You must provide a heater or some hot air duct at a very low temperature.

How to Prevent Ricketts / Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)?

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), also known as Ricketts, is one of the most common problems seen in pet chameleons, especially in Veiled Chameleons.

What is Ricketts/ Metabolic Bone Disease?

It is not a disease in the word’s ordinary sense. In most cases, this problem is caused by low farming.

Veiled chameleons are more prone to this condition. And mostly the younger ones. But Ricketts can affect a chameleon at any age.

Metabolic Bone Disease cannot be cured, but the effects can be reduced if caught in time. It is not common to see animals for sale showing early signs of MBD, especially animals like chameleons, and such animals should be avoided. It is nearly impossible for that Chameleon to be saved, and the prog­nosis for that Chameleon is very low.


The first indication of MBD in a male is often distorted or underdeveloped casque. But in either sex, a lack of coordination, or swollen ankles typically in the rear legs are signs of possible trouble.

If this condition(MBD) is allowed to develop, the Chameleon’s legs will lose their ability to grip branches soon and adequately, and the affected Chameleon will be unable to climb. If left untreated, it will cause too severe damage to the bones, which increases due to a lack of calcification and eventually leads to broken bone.

Other indications of MBD are clumsiness, muscle tremors, and maybe even paralysis of the limbs. There may even be problems throwing its tongue at food.

Along with external damage, internal damage is also possible. Internal damage is potential if the MBD is in most advanced form, with egg binding in females or constipation in both sexes.

It is essential to realize that some damage has already been done by seeing any symptoms. It is a chronic condition, not an acute one, and it typically takes weeks or months for calcium deficiency to develop in their pet.

Chameleon has MBD

Major Causes of MBD:

Low calcium is the fundamental cause of Metabolic Bone Disease. That lack of calcium can come for two reasons: an imbalance in the phosphorous /calcium ratio and a lack of UV light for synthesizing vitamin D3.


Calcium is an essential biochemical messenger used in animals for the nervous system and other vital functions. When the phosphorus level in chameleons is much higher than in calcium, calcium phosphate can form in the intestine. Calcium phosphate is challenging to absorb and is soon lost.

If the calcium (Ca) ratio to phosphorus (P) is too far away, it indicates the body to get the necessary calcium. And these are usually bones. As calcium is extracted, the bones soften and break easily. As MBD progresses, the body will protect the damaged bones by pulling calcium from other areas unless the animal’s long-term health is severely compromised.

Giving the Chameleon the wrong (or non-preferred) diet only exacerbates the problem. The larvae of many commercially cultured feeder insects, such as crabs, locusts, and wax insects, are low in calcium and have phosphorus-deficient calcium. It will also block calcium uptake. (That’s why we always avoided giving food bugs to chameleons). Plant ingredients are also useless in helping this vital aspect of the diet.

UV Light

Chameleons need vitamin D-3 to absorb calcium properly. In captivity, chameleon food rarely contains enough vitamin D3. But ultraviolet light enables chameleons to synthesize essential vitamin D3, allowing chameleons to absorb calcium and distribute it to the bones properly.

To properly synthesize vitamin D3, you need to have a good source of the right kind of UV light.

UV lights sold for reptiles/chameleons have a limited lifespan. Once they reach their limit, they are useless. Generally, their expiry is between 7 and 13 months. By trying to save a few dollars/cents and keeping the UV light longer, you run the real risk of permanently injuring your Chameleon.

Why Does the Chameleon Suffer from MBD?

As mentioned earlier, the veiled Chameleon is a species commonly affected by MBD. Other Chameleons rarely show signs of MBD.

The Veiled Chameleon is most affected by MBD captivity because they are often allowed to grow very fast. They come from an area where finding food can be difficult or just sporadic. On the occasion when the chameleons in captivity will eat their fill. Thus, they will grow faster than calcium, and the minerals needed to build strong bones can be found.

Occasionally, the MBD will show external signs of a chameleon whose owner is taking good care of it. In such cases, the MBD cause will be found in the history of purchasing young Chameleon. This reinforces your need to get chameleons from a reputable source.

Cold temperatures can slow down digestion, reducing the ability to absorb calcium. But even constant high temperatures are not conducive to chameleon health. They need a reduction in temperature at night and, if possible, seasonal temperature variation.

Treatment for MBD

Be very cautious handling animals with MBD. Their bones are very week and fragile and could be easily broken if you hold them hard.

If you suspect that your Chameleon has MBD, the first step is to take it to a doctor. Find that veterinarian that specializes in reptiles.

They may take X-rays, check for damaged bones, and possibly inject calcium or provide the necessary treatment.

The biggest problem in many countries, especially in the USA, South Africa, and Malaysia, is that very few Vet-Doc know anything about reptiles.

If you do not contact an animal doctor, look at the Chameleon’s condition, and change its diet.

Change Enclosure Conditions:

Ensure the UV light is adequate for the cage, not shielded, and is brand new. 5.0-5.2 UV light should suffice if placed at the right distance.

Change the Diet

Take a look at Chameleon’s diet. Avoid foods with a low calcium/phosphorus ratio.

Make sure the extra calcium is added to the food at the right frequency (too much more is also bad for chameleons). Always use a famous brand of calcium supplement designed for reptile use. Some inferior brands in the market will do more harm than good.

Ricketts / MBD for your Reptiles

Be Patient:

The situation may have taken a long time to develop, so don’t expect immediate results. But don’t give up.

You should know that even if the bones become more robust, the malformation of old breaks will never go away. There is also a risk of ongoing organ damage. Don’t be disappointed.

The bottom line is that MBD is easily cured and prevented. Read all you can about chameleon care and don’t look for UV or food to save a few dollars.

Tips to Avoid MBD:

1. Buy chameleons only from a reputable source. Sadly, some breeders produce large-scale low-quality animals to grow and sell quickly. Such chameleons are essential candidates for MBD.

2. When the veiled Chameleon is young, limit its feeding. Stop feeding one day a week. Don’t starve him, but be careful not to overdo it.

3. Check about food and UV lighting thoroughly before purchasing.

4. Give your Chameleon a varied diet.

5. Use a famous brand of calcium supplement.

6. Use the right size UV ​​light at the straight distance.

7. If in doubt, find the right animal doctor that works with reptiles.

How do I Know if my Chameleon is Uncomfortable?

Of all the reptiles, you can keep pets. I will say that Chameleon is most apparent in telling you that being close to them is not their comfort zone.

Chameleons will not hesitate to tell you that they want to be alone. Being natural, they will do this by hissing.

Another irrational way to express their uneasiness is to be black because a dark color indicates that they are in a bad mood. They will also hide in their cage, and you will have to give them plenty of plants in their cage so that they can do so.

Why Do Chameleon Shake

Do Chameleons Love Humans?

Chameleons are solitary and careful creatures in the forest. Millions of years of rigorous evolutionary behavior cannot be eliminated by keeping them as pets.

In our opinion, I would say that they do not like humans or any creature. They don’t even want members of the same sex

Chameleon / Disease / Symptom / Solution

Metabolic Bone Disease1) Rib/ Spine Fractures
2) Limb Deformuty
3) Rubber Jaw
Supplements / Dusting
Parasites1)Round Worms
2) Pin worms
3) coccidia
Loss Weight/ Appetite
Dewormed by Vet after Stool analysis to identify Parasite
Gout1) High Uric acid crystals
2) Swollen Ankles
3) Swollen Joints
4) Bumps on Joints
5) Chameleon in Pain
6) Chameleon stand on three legs instead of 4
7) Excessive Urination / Drinking
Lower protein in chameleons Diet
Stress1) nFleeing
2) Hissing
3) Changing Colors
4) Biting
5) Puffing Up
Remove cause of Stress
Other Chameleons
Respiratory Diseases1) Draining Muscus
2) Gaping Mouth
3) Noises when
4) Breathing
5) Popping Sounds
6) Inflamation
Check Environment
See Vet for Meds
Rickets1) malformed bones
2) Malformed toes
3) Swollent Joints
4) Crooked joints
Calcium Supplements
Vitamin Difiencies
Egg Binding1) Difficulty Breathing
2) Open Mouth Breathinf
3) Refusing to Climb
4) Lethargy
5) Swollen Eyes
6) Closed Eyes
7) Signs of Distress
Take you Chameleon to Vet
He May give fluids
He may do C-Section
Sunken EyesEyes receding into Chameleons HeadTake to veterinarian
Make sure is being misted
Vitamin A Definency1) Swollen Eyes

supplement of beta carotene
Vitamin A - Vet Might do Injection
Cancer1) Indication of internal Growth
2) External Growths
Take to Veterinarian
X Rays
Kidney / Liver Failure1) Lump in Pelvis
2) Cannot lay Eggs
3)Foul Breath
4) Fluid Swelling
5) Fowl Breath
6) Bloodshot / Yellow Eyes
7) Chameleon has water does not urinate
8) White Sheen in Mouth
Check Diet
Take to Vet
Can be Quickly Fatal
Viral Infections1) Gaped Mouth
2) Muscous
3) Difficulty Breathing
4) Inflamation
5) Discoloration
6) Eye/ Eyes swollen
7) Chuncks of
8) Muscos in Mouth
9) Mouth Rot
Take to Vet
Check Enviornment
Chemical / Household Toxins1) Breathing Issues
2) Stool Changes / Diahreah
3) Lethargic
Remove causes
Flush with Fluids
Starvation / Dehydration1) Lethaqrgy
2) Loosing Weight
3) Mouth Closed
4) Body and skin shriveling
1) Give food slowly
2) give water by Misting
3) Give water by eye dropper
Here is a list of Sickness and Disease you need to watch out for
Check with Your Reptile Veterinarian

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